SpaceX plans to launch another big batch of its Starlink internet satellites on Thursday (Sept. 3), and you can watch the action live.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with 60 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off Thursday at 8:46 a.m. EDT (1246 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There’s an 80% chance of good weather on launch day, according to the U.S. Space Force’s 45th weather squadron.
You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company. SpaceX’s webcasts typically begin about 15 minutes before liftoff. The company also usually offers a separate livestream with mission control audio.
SpaceX has already launched about 600 satellites for Starlink, its burgeoning broadband constellation in low Earth orbit. And many more missions are in the offing; Elon Musk’s company has permission to loft 12,000 Starlink satellites and has applied for approval to launch another 30,000 on top of that.
The spaceflight action on Thursday will be multilayered, as SpaceX will aim to land the first stage of the two-stage Falcon 9 on a “drone ship” in the Atlantic Ocean about 9 minutes after liftoff.
The company has also deployed one of its two net-equipped boats to recover the rocket’s payload fairing, the two-piece protective nose cone that surrounds satellites during launch. It’s unclear whether the net boat will aim to pluck a fairing half out of the sky or fish the equipment out of the sea.
SpaceX routinely lands and reflies Falcon 9 first stages, and the company has recently begun reusing payload fairings as well. Such reuse greatly reduces launch costs and turnaround times, Musk has said, and therefore has the potential to revolutionize spaceflight.
The Starlink launch was originally supposed to lead off a Falcon 9 doubleheader on Sunday (Aug. 30), with the second act being the evening liftoff of the SAOCOM-1B Earth-observation satellite. Bad weather scuttled Sunday morning’s Starlink attempt, but the skies cleared enough for SAOCOM-1B to get off the ground nine hours later.
SpaceX then aimed to launch the Starlink satellites on Tuesday (Sept. 1) but pushed the mission back two more days to perform additional reviews.